My daughter resents that I do not have enough money to pay for her college — advice?
My daughter, whom I deeply love, consistently compares herself to wealthy students at her college. I know there are other students who do not come from wealth, but the area we live in is considered wealthy. I am 63 in a month, work full-time, and though my gross pay is okay, my net pay is about 60% less than my gross — many deductions: federal taxes, state taxes, health care (she is under mine, and that is one main reason I am working), pension payments, union dues, dental/vision care, Social Security deductions, and the last two years we had pay CUTS. I only had this job for 11 years, so I am not eligible for enough pension to live on (I am only a clerical worker).
I do try to treat her to things when she visits (she attends a college about 30 miles away), and I hope she knows how much I love her. She received a small scholarship, receives the CalGrant and takes out government loans. I can’t take out loans because I do not earn enough to pay them back — my pay just covers monthly expenses.
I offered $ 400/month toward her share of rent (she is currently paying $ 300/month from her loans and part-time Work Study so she has a $ 700 budget). I will use my tax refund for study abroad.
She focuses on wealthy people and ignores kids who are working part-time, or don’t have rich parents. I happily devoted the last 20 years to her — it hurts when she constantly tells people, or writes she is angry that I don’t have money and she has loans. I got her a full scholarship to study abroad in high school.
I’m really tired, and I can’t seem to explain to a 20-year-old how tiring it is at almost 63. I do absolutely love her, & I try very hard with what I have. She cut me off for a year when she went to college, and I thought I’d never see her again, but now she is “back”. I moved into a mobile home, so that I could stay in the area on my income. She was resentful I had to put a floor down in a room that flooded during the rains and had to be replaced (it was the cheapest laminate there is).
I know she is young, and though I am not wealthy, she does live in a wealthy area and has access to many things here. I feel she is lucky I raised her in a great place, that I am very good at budgeting, and gave her an opportunity to have a better life here (we are from an poor steel mill city).
I don’t know what to say or do. I cannot afford to hand her thousands of dollars, so I try to give her little treats (we went to a hot tub spa last week– only $ 37) to give her a relaxation break from school. I cook all my own food, shop at all discount places, and my income covers my expenses, but few extras. I have no investments, or even a real savings account. I live month to month but am happy to do what I can.
I am discouraged. I want my daughter to love and respect me, but she says things like I don’t care because I don’t have the money (she seems to forget I am actually eligible for Social Security), and that she is deprived, and other kids have it so good. The reality, to me, is that she goes to a good state college getting a good degree. I know lots of parents who also are clerical workers who do not make much, and their kids took out loans and worked through school — I just do not understand this sense of entitlement and resentment.
Has anyone else gone through something similar? If so, what happened, is your child older and wiser now? How did you handle it? It just hurts so much because I love her, and I know I did the best I could with what I had. I am working until I am at least 67 (God willing) just to give her health insurance and help pay her rent and study abroad. Considering the small amount I take home, and the expenses I have (which are not big compared to most people and I am very frugal), I honestly do not have extra money. I am proud she IS in college, that she did have a study abroad in high school and will have another in college — a degree early in life is an advantage. It’s the resentment thing, and not understanding the financial lack I have. She gets angry if I buy a $ 5.00 item , or spent money building my own patio ($ 100 using pavers that I did myself)…I am definitely not extravagant, and I painted all my own rooms, cook my own food, and don’t go out. The only things I do in town are free things — walks along the beach, hikes in the woods, and other simple things.
I am just stumped. I don’t know why she feels deprived or entitled. I did not raise her like that, but her outbursts are usually about me not “having enough money,” to help her through college. She is young, and can easily pay off the gov’t. loans (she has no private loans). It’s a state university, she has a good major (Business), she is bilingual and learning a third language now — she has opportunities. I am old enough to be retired, but I keep working to help her out — but obviously not to the extent that she would like….